Seven student chefs from Lakes High School’s culinary arts class are busily preparing for competition in the 2009 Boyd Coffee ProStart Invitational Sunday, March 8 at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. The program, presented by the Washington Restaurant Association Education Foundation, pairs high school student teams against each other in an Iron Chef-style throw down competition. Students will be battling for scholarships and the chance to go on to the National ProStart Invitational April 24-26, 2009, in San Diego, Calif.
Led by culinary arts teacher Mary Opdahl and Pacific Lutheran University pastry chef and volunteer Erica Fickeinsen, the students will create a three course meal from scratch in one hour with no electricity available. They will make a watercress pear salad, an entr?©e of ginger citrus shrimp over homemade pasta with steamed asparagus with a mascarpone fruit verrine with candied ginger dessert.
“The students have been practicing for months and are very excited,” said Opdahl. “This is the first year we have had a culinary arts class and used the ProStart curriculum at Lakes. The class allows students to use real-world equipment under strict industry standards‚Äîthey learn by doing and they are performing really well.”
ProStart is a national career-building program for high school students interested in culinary arts and foodservice management.
Once construction is complete on the modernization and rebuilding of Lakes in late 2010, culinary arts students will have a new kitchen and classroom, which will give them the opportunity to expand the program and offer catering and food service to the school. In addition to high school credit, students who successfully complete the course with a “B” or better earn dual credit through Pierce College, Tacoma Community College and Clover Park and Bates Technical Colleges.
For more information on the ProStart Invitational, visit the Washington Restaurant Association’s Web site.